How Unions at Rio Collaborate to Work Hard & Have Fun!


Sylvia Viramontes

Collaboration between the two Unions, CSEA and RHCFA, with the assistance from all Classified Staff, brings fun and friendship to the college community.

Yolanda Ramirez

The end of the fall semester showcases the efforts and collaboration of the two unions at RIO, the Classified School Employees Association (CSEA) led by President Sandra Rivera and the Rio Hondo College Faculty Association (RHCFA) led by Professor Rudy Rios. Together, the two UNIONS provide morale-boosting activities to the college community. 

The festivities begin with a Halloween Party on October 31st this year’s title was “Six Feet Hondo” and it featured the “Rio Hills Cemetery”, located at the Board Room. This luncheon event was hosted by CSEA’s Ways & Means Committee, and chaired by Yolanda Ramirez, Secretary to the Math, Sciences & Engineering Division and CSEA, with co-chair Michelle Yriarte, Clerk Typist at the President’s Office.  

On November 7th, with the Holiday Spirit upon us, the CSEA’s Ways & Means Committee put together the Annual Fall Boutique. This event has become our biggest fundraising event thanks to chair Michelle Casas, Sr. Financial Aid Assistant, and co-chair Janice Garcia-Lopez, Instructional Division Secretary in Communications & Language.

Then, next week we are closing another successful semester with the End-of-Year Luncheon on November 21st. This event is co-sponsored by the Rio Hondo College Faculty Association (RHCFA) & the President’s Office. It is chaired by Martha Carreón, Humanities Professor and Faculty Event Coordinator and it comes to life with the hands-on collaboration of the EYL Committee, which is comprised of both Faculty and Classified Staff working together to create the magic and fun each semester. The Winter event also provides an opportunity for all of us at RIO to contribute a $10 donation to the RHCFA – Teachers Helping Students Scholarship Fund. 

None of these events would be possible without the incredible hard work and the magic brought in by the Classified Staff in all areas of the college. For the last few years, Janice Garcia-Lopez or Yolanda Ramirez make a reservation for the venue with Eva Cabral, Clerk Typist in Facilities. They submit Work Orders for Frank Garcia and Johnny Figueroa, Utility Staff to set-up tables, chairs, tents and other equipment. Fun begins with music, so a Ticket number is submitted to the IT Help Desk. The message is routed by Rosalva Garcia, Information Specialist so that Carlos Monteros and/or Eric Telles can provide the Audio/Visual equipment. The process continues with the assistance from numerous Classified Staff, including Sylvia Viramontes and Alberto Bretado in Marketing, who create flyers, invitations and/or programs and post them on the RIO, CSEA and RHCFA websites. 

The flyer, invite and/or program go to Erwin Figueroa or Maria Galvan for printing. The Committees (mostly Classified), meet at least a couple of times to strategize the logistics: contact a caterer, gather and make decorations, collect RSVPs, purchase supplies, everyone involved gets an assignment and takes on responsibilities to realize the event. It is best to view their website and understand the logistics.Gabriel Carrasco’s ideas and equipment are key. He brings the magic of the theater and some props to our events. We also thank the Facilities and Maintenance guys, Jaime Brenes, Mario Valdes, Alberto Hernandez, Reynaldo Aguilar, and Frank Tran, who ensure we have water, electricity, A/C and the necessary equipment ladders, posted signage.

  Then, we ask whoever can spare a couple of hours to volunteer some of their personal time after work to decorate the venue, to bring in a Potluck dish or dessert, to sell their wares at the Boutique, to assist with fundraising.  This year, Janice Garcia Lopez, 2nd VP for CSEA is offering $15 Marie Callender’s Pies and gift certificates for Thanksgiving. Lisa Sandoval, 1st VP for CSEA is offering See’s Candies and certificates ready for Christmas gift-giving. You can still order Pies by calling (562) 463-3101, and order See’s Candies by calling (562) 463-7364. In addition, everyone on campus is encouraged to contribute to the Teachers Helping Students Scholarship Fund, by attending the End-of-Year Luncheon on Thursday, November 21, 2019.

This year’s theme is “Oh, Deer. Winter is Here!”

Yolanda Ramirez
The process begins and ends with Classified Staff doing their job efficiently.

At the end of the day when everyone has satisfied their hunger and participated in these fun activities, there is still work to be done, and it is done by the Classified Staff, when we have to leave the place as we found it, and ready for the next event. So, we submit a work order to Facilities where Manager, George Lopez and/or Liz Haney, Sr. Secretary will dispatch our dedicated Custodial crew. Did you know that we have only 20 Custodians to take care of the whole campus, along with all the Outreach locations, SWEC, EMEC, and PICO Educational Centers, plus the Fire Academy and the Police Academy, too?  CSEA would like to take this opportunity to thank them all. They don’t usually get to enjoy the festivities due to their schedule, but we can always count on them to be there to clean up after the fun. They are listed in alphabetical order.  Carmen Barragan, Sergio Cabral, Darrell Brad Chirrick, James F. Dargel, Jason Dwyer, Jeanette Encinas, Fernando Guevara, Silvestre Huerta, Michael Jones, Patricia Knight, Miguel Mancilla, Maria Mercado, Gloria Paniagua, Destiny Perez, Antonio Ramos, Steven Sedillo, Erick Squares, Rudy Vancini, Hector Villa, Don Tan Vo. CSEA & RHCFA Thank each Classified Staff for all the hard work they do to keep everything working, clean and serviceable.

All of these events are a testament of the great communication, collaboration, and dedication of the two unions, CSEA and RHCFA.  Classified Staff work diligently to perform not only the jobs we were hired to do: maintaining the college in working order and making sure students keep coming to attend classes at RIO.  Where great Faculty and Counselors can teach and guide them into graduation or transfer.  We are all here to support and rely on each other to do our jobs. CSEA and RHCFA will continue to partner together to bring education to our students, and collaborate to bring fun, and morale-boosting activities throughout the year to show our appreciation for the hard work and dedication we all bring to our everyday jobs, here at RIO!